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Rockler Universal Fence Clamps
Cool idea that makes building (and using) a sacrificial fence easy
Text, photos and video by Tom Hintz
Posted - 10-8-2008
Building a sacrificial fence for use with a dado cutter is a tradition in woodworking. Unfortunately, part of that tradition was figuring out how to secure the sacrificial fence to your table saw fence without drilling holes in it or otherwise messing up its surface. That has always been the tough part - until the Rockler Universal Fence Clamps came along.
Simplicity Executed Well
The Rockler Universal Fence Clamps are a remarkably simple idea that would fail miserably if not done right. But, Rockler did it right and we now have an easy to use answer to a difficult problem. Even more rare is that a set of the Rockler Universal Fence Clamps won't crash your budget.
Fabricated from steel and aluminum, the Rockler Universal Fence Clamps are as tough as they are simple. A bent steel rod is threaded where it enters the aluminum body. This choice of materials keeps the cost down while maintaining the durability we want in wood shop tools.
The idea of using a round rod inserted into a simple hole drilled into the top of the fence eliminates having clamps anyplace on the face of the sacrificial fence. That leaves a completely smooth surface that makes your sacrificial fence far more versatile. This bent rod and hole also makes it possible to laminate a much larger face to the sacrificial fence base strip (as I did in the accompanying photos) for working with larger work pieces and for making jigs such as panel raising fixtures.
Capacity and Use
The Rockler Universal Fence Clamps are designed with a 1/2" to 5-3/4" clamping range. I use the Rockler Universal Fence Clamps (unmodified in any way) on my POWERMATIC Accu-Fence, one of the wider fences on the market. They fit perfectly and held the sacrificial fence dead steady.
The smooth bent portion slips into a 3/8"-diameter hole. The 90-degree aluminum body has a knob on a threaded clamp that locks the assembly onto your table saw fence without marring it. OK, you do have to drill a couple holes and lift the fence onto the saw, but after that it really gets simple. I wish I had more to explain about using the Rockler Universal Fence Clamps but that's it!
You can also use the Rockler Universal Fence Clamps individually for securing stop or gauge blocks anywhere along the fence. Here again, not having the clamp over the surface makes the stop block more versatile and easier to use.
I made the sacrificial fence in the photos by cutting one strip of 5/8"-thick MDF equal to the table saw fence height, drilling the holes for the Rockler Universal Fence Clamps in that. I then laminated a taller piece of the same MDF to that. The result is a tall, smooth and straight fence with no gaps of clamps to get in the way. Very cool and very easy.
The Rockler Universal Fence Clamps are a very good idea that makes a common woodworking task very easy. The way they grasp the wood opens the door to fabricating all sorts of fence-related jigs and fixtures specific to your woodworking tasks. If you have a table saw, you need the Rockler Universal Fence Clamps!
Best of all, at $17.99 (standard price, 10-08-2008) and frequently on sale for around $15.00 per set (of two), the Rockler Universal Fence Clamps are an exceptional value. You might be able to figure out how to mount a sacrificial fence yourself but it won't work as easily and probably not as securely as the Rockler Universal Fence Clamps. Give in, buy the Rockler Universal Fence Clamps and give yourself a break!
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